NOK 500 million for UNHCR efforts in Syria and its neighbouring countries

Close to 12 million people have fled their homes because of the war in Syria, and the UN and its partners urgently need funding for their efforts in the coming years. 'We must make sure that the UN is able to support the millions of people who have been forced to flee because of the war in Syria. That is why Norway is taking the lead and making a significant contribution to the UN Refugee Agency of a total of NOK 500 million for the next few years,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

Mr Brende is in Brussels today to discuss the international community's engagement in Syria with the EU and European foreign ministers.

'We urge all countries to honour the pledges made at the donor conference for Syria and the region, which was held in London in February, on Norway's initiative. This is a long-term crisis of enormous proportions, and it is therefore important to provide multi-year contributions to ensure continuity and make the relief efforts as effective as possible,' Mr Brende said.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) plays a key role in providing protection and assistance to people who have been forced to flee. By supporting refugees in the region, UNHCR hopes to reduce the number of desperate Syrians seeking refuge elsewhere who fall prey to human smugglers.

Over the past few years, UNHCR has been a major recipient of Norwegian funding for the Syria crisis, and will continue to play a key role in the next few years. In addition to supporting UNHCR's vital efforts to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in the region, Norway will this year also provide some funding to strengthen the agency's efforts to promote job opportunities in Syria.

Norway has already provided NOK 100 million to support the work of UNHCR in Syria and its neighbouring countries in 2016, and is now increasing its funding for 2016 to a total of NOK 300 million. In addition, Norway plans to provide at least NOK 100 million for both 2017 and 2018.